John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


We Now Interrupt This Program for a Public Service Announcement from that Marley Guy...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

As you can imagine, I was excited to be able to hang out on the movie set during the filming of Marley & Me. The one aspect of shooting that made me slightly uncomfortable was the extreme cuteness of the Labradors drafted into service to play Marley. Even when they were being "bad" they were so damn adorable, it was hard not to sigh and think, "Oh, how I'd love to have one of those in my house."

So when the American Kennel Club approached me about doing a public service announcement in conjunction with the movie, warning those who might be smitten by these big, energetic animals what they could be getting themselves into, I gladly agreed. The theme of the PSA is responsible dog ownership. I wanted people considering a dog, especially those drawn by the emotional tug of a heartwarming movie, to pause and think twice about whether they are prepared for everything dog ownership entails. Especially bringing home loving but challenging dogs of the Marley variety.

The sad subtext of Marley & Me is that for every wild, hard-to-control animal like Marley who finds a loving, lifelong home, dozens end up being abandoned. If there is a message I hope readers will take away from my book, and the movie too, it is that dogs are not appliances. They are not fashion accessories. They are not commodities to be blithely discarded when they become inconvenient. The PSA is designed to drive home that lesson while still celebrating the great joys of bringing a dog into a family.

We filmed the PSA on a beautiful farm in rural Pennsylvania about an hour from my home. At my side was my own new addition, Woodson the Lab puppy my family adopted from the movie set. The PSA is being offered to television stations across the country to air as the Marley & Me movie prepares to debut on Christmas day. The PSA comes in 60-, 30-, and 15-second versions, and there is a print ad, too that is being made available to print media around the country.

To view the PSA and see still photos of Woodson and me on the set for the PSA, please follow this link:

The American Kennel Club press release announcing the launch of the PSA begins this way:


New York, NY – The American Kennel Club®, in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and John Grogan, announced today the launch of a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign tied to the upcoming film Marley & Me. The campaign can be viewed at and features 60-, 30- and 15-second television spots and a print PSA designed to remind all dog lovers of the commitment it takes to own a dog.

Responsible dog ownership is something Grogan, the author of the best-selling book on which the film is based, knows better than anyone. Marley & Me recounts his life with his rambunctious Labrador Retriever, who quickly grew from an adorable puppy to 97-pound steamroller. In the PSA Grogan states:

“Puppies…they’re so cute. Until they’re not. Then they become 100 pounds of thundering, hairy, yelping, jumping, drooling, go-exactly-where-you-don’t-want-them-to-go… commitment. In a word: Marley.

I’m John Grogan. I was Marley’s patient and loving owner for 13 years. I know there is nothing like the joys and rewards of pet ownership but… someone’s got to be the responsible one… most likely you. “

The PSAs, part of the AKC’s longstanding public education campaign, remind potential dog owners that dogs are a big responsibility and that the decision to buy a puppy should not be taken lightly.

“Unlike other films and aspects of popular culture that idealize dogs, we think Marley & Me depicts a more balanced view of dog ownership and we want to underscore that further through this campaign,” said Daisy Okas, AKC’s Assistant Vice President of Communications. “Dogs bring us love, affection, comfort, security and unrivaled devotion despite our flaws, but there is a lot that is required of us in return for the wonderful privilege of having a dog. We applaud Fox and John Grogan for providing the public with an entertaining story that drives this message home to all animal lovers.”

posted by John Grogan at 8:56 AM


Blogger cranker said...

to sum up in a few words what could be a thousand - loved "Marley and Me" - can't wait for the movie! i speak on behalf of my whole (irish-catholic) family, the Stacks. we are so proud of you and are now enjoying "The Longest Trip Home". i bought it the first week it was released, thanx to my 'source' Tommy Cullen and bro! it was a GREAT read John!!! you definately put a voice to our little window of time and space - thanx for that! Congratulations!
sincerely,Betsy(Stack)Crank fellow 'refuge-raven' and WBHS class '77

1:19 PM  
Blogger John Grogan said...

Besty! Hi... wow, it's been so long. Really good to hear from you. Tell Katie hi. I had such a crush on her when I was in 7th grade. I saw "Tommy" in Phoenix a couple weeks ago, and we had a great reunion.
Cheers, John

2:58 PM  
Blogger annie said...

I loved reading your book Marley & Me. We own 2 dogs, a great dane named brutus and a black lab named bella, so my family are dog lovers. My question is, I am a first time writer, who can I trust for a publisher and please what is my first step ?
please and thank you

3:21 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

I just wanted to say that I finished reading your book and can't wait for the movie, that book had me in tears, I own 9 dogs right now and its always hard to lose one. I know you know this, but Marley is waiting for you at Rainbow Bridge and will always love you.

Shannon Douglass
Austin Texas

10:30 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi John!
My name is Jennifer, and I live in Donegal in Ireland. I've just finished reading Marley and Me, and really enjoyed it. Like so many other people, it brought back great memories of owning dogs, especially a golden lab called Foofur that I got when I was six years old. I only thought he was crazy until i read about Marley!
I have two dogs now, one of which is my black lab/retriever guide dog OJ. Of course he is fully trained, trustworthy and sensible, and it is a relief to finally own a dog like him! I have been keeping a blog since training with him last summer, and your book has inspired me to think more about how I write in it. OJ and Me just wouldn't be as entertaining, but I enjoy blogging about him as a passtime.
I am giving my nephew a copy of the children's version of Marley and Me for Christmas, and look forward to watching the film with him. The add campaign is a fantastic idea, because unfortunately not everybody thinks properly before getting a dog. The thing I loved about the book is that you were very realistic about owning a dog, and although he was part of your family, you still treated him like a dog, and not like a human being.
Can't wait to read the longest trip home soon.
Keep up the great work.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Russ said...

My name Russell B Birthisel

I USE to a 13 old shelte who hate lound noise.

Heather hated the doorbell and the telphone and mirowave oven Etc

Heather had hip displaytion and also sick .

One day the phone and bit my mother .

We had ship down to my sister but it worse too.

She got home sick me and mother and refused to eat,

I know how hard it is to put down a family pet .


Russell Birthisel

8:06 AM  
Blogger Russ said...

My is Russell B Birthisel


My e-mail address is


Russell B Birthisel

8:28 AM  
Blogger firstmonsoon said...

Hey again, Marley Guy :)

What is it about labs that make them so endearing? I mean, you see the movie dog wrecking your house and causing you no end of embarrassment and you still want to cuddle them close and take them home with you.

I wonder if people really think of puppies as a 15 year commitment, and not just the cute, wiggly ball of fur that they start out as.

My dad and I have this dream house.. it's to have a room for everyone, a room for hobbies, one for music, one for books, a woodworking shed out behind the garage, and a huge, huge garden for all our dream-house dogs. And maybe some magical dream dog-nanny to help bathing them :P

...and in reality I'm a lone student in a one-bedroom apartment. Ah, for a dog.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Bresdin O'Malley said...

Im not sure I can say anything that anyone else has not already said but I feel like commenting none the less. I am only 19 and I have grown up with animals and dogs. I am recently going to college and i live with my dog Dakota who is the entire reason I live right now. She is everything to me and when I read your book I realized how important she really is to me. However, I am not writing you to tell you how much I care about my dog, there are not words to express how great she is. I am actually writing you because your book made a bigger impact on my life. I have been a science major and have been really stressed and unhappy. However I have always loved writing and reading and i've wanted to write books and work for a newspaper. When you explained the joy you got from writing your columns I imediatly decided it is what I am ment to do. Your book was the decideding factor in my caree choice. I want to thank you for helping and writing the most incredible book I have read in a long time. Your a lovely writer and an amazing dog owner! I love the passion you seem to put into everything. Thank you!
I love Marley and he reminds me of my brothers black lab only, she is much more behaved.

3:50 AM  
Blogger sauconRunner said...

I just read the book. I've had it on my bookshelf for some time and seeing the trailer for the movie the other day made me pick it up.

I laughed my ass off and bawled my eyes out. It was a great read. We have a 11 month old lab/pit mix and Marley's adventures (especially the bad) describe Boots O'Malley perfectly.

Boots just doesn't seem to want to change his bad behaviors (just like Marley) and will most likely always try to drink out of the toilet and get in the garbages. He drinks water and half ends up on the floor and has this bad habbit of getting a burst of energy and does laps full force around the family room and he seems to be the most lovable, loyal dog I've had yet. I think your book just helped me appreciate him more (bad traits and all).


5:28 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

One comment and one funny. First the comment....Loved the book and cant wait for the movie. I could not see through my tears as I finished the book. I have buried several of my beloved pets in my lifetime. It touched my heart in so many ways. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart;
Now the funny> I am the proud owner of one 13 year old poodle, Belle, one 6 year poodle, Molly and one 2 year old Maltese...well his name is Brodie...also know as Little Bit of Trouble and Fat Boy. Well Brodie HATES in a big way for my husband or myself to leave him. He will pull on our pants legs. Put on the sad eyes, shake and do almost anything to get us to stay home. On this day I had to run to my moms home. I had been in the process of reading the book yet another time. Seems Marley's life has touched my own life in many ways...all good. Well I used the book cover as my bookmark tucking it neatly on my last read page. I then laid my prized book (given to me as a birthday gift by my oldest son) on the coffee table. I left for my Moms. Brodie was really trying his best on this day. We went through all the tricks that he was so sure would keep me home. I then patted him on his head and took off. Well seems while I was gone Brodie must have decided..well if Marley likes the taste of well, almost anything why dont I try some of his tasty book that sits on that coffee table. I arrived home about one hour later. Brodie was in his "I have been bad" hiding spot. It was under the dining room table. I have found all kinds of objects that the little thief makes off with under that big old table. Well there he was, with the book of course. Seems he decided to pay honor to Marley by eating about a forth of the hardback cover and the last two chapters. I looked at him then at the book and thought of you and your many times I though must you have come in the the.... I have been a bad dog zone. I had to crack up at the thoughts of the wacky honor one dog paid to another on that day. Brodie got a kiss and a good old belly scratch on that day. I keep that book on my book caee now...chewed side up. When I feel down i glance at it and I smile...thanks for that John. I also want to thank Jenny and your children for letting us share your life. You have warmed my heart in many, many ways. My family has already made plans for the annual Christmas movie night and of course cant wait to see "Marley and Me"...May God Bless you. Your talent is truly a gift. God Bless You, Kathy from South Carolina....Brodie, Belle and Molly also...

7:31 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi John!

I wanted to comment, as last night I was reading your article for the Ladies Home Journal, talking about Marley and the upcoming movie. Your name kept sticking in my mind for some reason, as I read the article. Then I read where your article on Marley back in 2004 prompted so many email responses from readers. I realized I was one of those responses, having just lost my beloved cat, Useless, a few weeks before your article. You were kind enough to write back to me; in checking this morning, I discovered I still have your email. Wow, now you're a best selling author with a movie coming out on Christmas day! Good old Marley; he would be very, very proud. You have the wonderful ability to sum up what all animal lovers feel in their hearts about their little incorrigible bundles of fur. Thanks so much, John, and best wishes to you on the upcoming movie and future projects. I haven't read Marley yet, but I will. Take care,


Mary Hyland
Philadelphia, PA

6:20 AM  
Blogger BAL said...

Hi John
Meu nome é Braulio, tenho 16 anos e sou de Ubá - MG - Brazil.

I hope you understand me.
Quero parabenizá-lo pelo seu livro: Marley e Eu (Marley and Me). Eu realmente me emocionei muito com a história. Foi um sentimento do qual a última vez que eu senti, foi quando eu perdi o meu cão, Toby, no início deste ano. Nunca um livro como o seu me passou uma lição de vida tão grande, satisfatória e triste ao mesmo tempo. Não há palavras para descrever Marley e ninguém melhor para afirmar isso do que você. Parece que eu convivi com o seu cão durante vários anos, foi impressionante! Parabéns á você e toda a sua família.

My e-mail address is

Ubá - Brazil

7:30 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

I too am a lover of your book.(i'm sure by now there shld be millions!) on a sidenote i must say youre clean shaven pictures look nothing like my mental picture derived from the shots from the book! i mean wow you look quite handsome and even distinguished!haha. anyway I was never a big lover of dogs or animals for that matter until Ive gotten DJ(my overweight great pyrenees)and just like marley his crazy stunts.mostly involvinbg food theft definitely brings so much joy and humor to my life!

anyway from what youve mentioned about your secret hollywood fantasy i imagine youre just DIEING over the fact that youd be played by owen wilson..but then again...having jen.anistonn for a wife...haha.
well just saying. marley n me is def one of my fav books!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn Kairns said...

I love that you are doing a PSA bringing home the fact that dogs are not appliances or commodities to discard when they become inconvenient. It's so important that people know that there's so much more to it than sharing the love, devotion and joys of bringing a puppy into their family, especially if their dog turns out to have difficult behavior problems like separation anxiety. After our Maggie died (Maggie: the dog who changed my life) my husband and I became involved with rescue work. The first dog we fostered was a handsome labrador with horrible separation anxiety. The 3 weeks we cared for Bob the dog until we found his forever home was a challenge we were totally unprepared for. It took tremendous learning and effort while we had Bob, and that was just for 3 weeks! Thank you for promoting responsible dog guardianship and emphasizing the time and energy commitment it takes to have these wonderful beings in our lives.
Dawn Kairns, author
Maggie: the dog who changed my life

7:46 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Thank you so much for Marley and Me, you made me laugh and cry, Ive had many pets in my life, and alot of them had alot of Marley in them, my husband didnt put up with dogs that destroyed things, so many of my pets had to go to other people. While reading Marley while laying in bed one of my adopted weenie dogs crawled up to me for his chin rub, our pets are family members and we are intrusted to care for them. I have 3 adopted dogs and they each have some of Marley in them, but isnt that what makes them special?
God Bless you for writing about Marley, and now Marley where ever you are, there are thousand of people who love you and your memory.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hi, John!
I'm back!
Oh, that's so beautifull that you've embraced this cause!
Everyone knows that you are a dog lover and that you love and respect them... but you telling people that is such a big thing, and certainly you have much credibility!
I was taking a look of the pics in the website and the last one with all the puppies is really adorable!
And may I say that Woodson melted my heart!
I have a dog, Maggie... and no doubt that she is a part of the family! Even my father who wasn't such a dog lover at the beggining, now after 11 years with her, loves her and learned to love all dogs!
They are the most perfect, innocent and cute thing created by God and it worths so much the joy that they give us! It even makes all the mess, eaten shoes, and everything seem so small compared to all the good things that they bring to us!
Congrats for one more time bringging that up; for everyone to pay more attention at it!
I really admire your atitude!
And now, changing the subject, I'm still waiting for The longest trip home to come here to Brazil! I guess it's comming in the end of this month! And I'll certainly buy 10 extra copies to give for people I love for Christmas!
Take care, John!

Giovana - 19
Brazil - São Paulo

5:28 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

John: I forgot to tell you about the labs Ive had in my life, the first one when i was a baby, I was told the dog blackie would guard my playpen when outside and no one but Mother could come near it,when I was two an it was nap time since my bed was upstairs, dear Blackie would let me hold onto her tail as i climbed the steps, I could pull her ears and ride her back and she seemed to love it, sadly my parents split an blackie an I went to a foster home.I saw the foster father shoot and kill blackie as she was chasing an killing his sheep, athough I was only two I saw this and went into a shock of some sort, I lost many years of memory after that happened. My second black lab named Whitt was really my oldest son's dog, his girlfriend's family had a liter of labs so he wanted one I could not say no, but he never took care of whit, I did, so whit became my dog, an of course "THE MARLEY FACTOR" came out in whit, digging, destroying things and as I said above my husband would not put up with that, so he said to get rid of whit, well I had to get rid of so many pets over the years, that I put my foot down an said no, my husband's comment was he didnt believe I would ruin a marriage over a dog, well i said trust me, you go as the dog stays! My husband became a new dog lover(smile) so we moved to a new house an were doing the yards, and Marley Factor" abounded with whitt in killing an digging all the plants up, so whitt went to a family member. Then came BlackieII. My husband brought me this small black Lab an put it in my arms, I cryed for so long, I said no matter what Blackie does I wont have to get rid of her, he promised, but as Blackie II grew she got the Marley Factor" real I made the choice to give her up. So Ive made a promise to myself that never will I have a Lab again, as I love them so an it seems they always go by the wayside. I would like your readers to remember to give to there local shelter's, you can give time, money, dog and cat food, and even animal toys.There are many dogs and cats to adopt, I have 3 of my own, they each have some of Marley in them, and sadly my husband passed away in 2004, so any choice I make about my pets is my own choice now. I also have a turtle named Gordie, I know winter has come as she has dug way down into the ground, and when spring arrives, she will pop out and be very hungray.
Thank You
dee from California

10:32 PM  
Blogger Sierra Donovan said...

Thank you for doing this! Our family recently took in a good-natured, but very rambunctious lab mix we found wandering as a stray. We're pretty sure his family abandoned him ... and we're pretty sure why. Bela has many annoying habits. He also has a heart of gold.

It makes me nuts that people will turn an animal out to fend for itself. Maybe they kid themselves that the dog will have a blast and "live off the land." Bela is very lucky he wasn't creamed by a car in front of my son's school, and even luckier when he survived a bout with Parvo virus ... which he probably picked up when he was wandering the streets.

Best to you and yours, and the new puppy!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Ciça Fernandes said...

Hi, my name is Cecilia, I'm from Brazil.
I read your book about Marley. It's amazing!!!!!
I don't think the movie will be as great as the movie...
but I'm crazy to watch it.

Kisses and Hugs
from a big fan
from Brazil!

Ps: I loved your blog.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi John
I am enjoyiny your book right now and can't wait for your movie on christmas day. This is the best lol book I have had in a long time. I have owned two labs and they do have crazy personalities but they are trainable at 2 yrs of age. I have learned alot about these dogs and my sister was a breeder. I want to have another one someday but I would like to have one from someone that may have changed there mind and hope that he or she would be happy with me then be abandon or taken to the pound. These dogs deserve a chance with someone who understands them. They are the number one best family pets no matter what. thanks for sharing your story.

9:23 PM  
Blogger HENDON said...

It is unfortunate that Marley Guy didn't think carefully before entering into a "partnership" with the AKC. The AKC receives millions of dollars every year in registration fees from our nation's worst puppy mills. Surely, Mr. Grogan and Twentieth Century Fox could have considered the feelings of the thousands of rescue organizations before climbing into bed with the American Kennel Club. I, for one, will not be lining up to see this picture. I'll be sitting in an emergency vet hospital with a recent rescue. Hoping the dog doesn't have the types of serious genetic problems so common in AKC registered mill dogs.

2:36 PM  
Blogger keka said...

Oi eu me chamo Erika, moro no Rio de Janeiro Brasil.
Adoro Cães, sempre tive em minha casa, mais a 11 anos tenho um cachorro chamado Zeus, é um cachorro terrivel mais eu o amo demais, lendo o Livro descobri que que esta perto de me separa dele, pois ele já esta com muitos sintomas de velhice.... mais percebi o quando será duro essa separação.
Gostaria de parabenizar pelo livro foi muito bom te-lo em meu criado mudo.
muita paz e saude para vc e sua linda familia

1:32 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

my name is leonardo gunar. g.dantas (Brazil Rio de Janeiro) I'm finished reading marley
I think its hold on Fan for this dog (the dog show is that I would like to have).
keep writing!
a big hug!

3:50 AM  
Blogger Eileen Barron said...

I am thrilled to hear you are working with the AKC to put out the word on responsible dog ownership. I read your book Marley & Me and loved it. I am a volunteer with So. California Labrador Retriever Rescue and our group is very concerned that a year from now there will be more labs in the shelters to rescue. We rescue 300 labs a year and are hoping to have more fosters to help but we would really love to see the number of labs, and dogs, in shelter's reduced. Our web site is
So. California Lab Rescue

8:21 AM  
Blogger Admin said...

This post has been removed by the author.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

While puppies are the topic of the day, I wanted to let people know about the dangers of a particular style/make of wire home training kennel/crate popularly sold at Wal-Mart and other discount stores which is defective in design (yet still sold) and which has killed puppies and dogs due it's poor door latching system.
See the story and photos here which I revived intact as the domain expired and the site was gone;

5:59 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

The PSA is a very good start but, to really get the point across, there should be a message in the theaters at the start of the movie. I have worked in Labrador Retriever Rescue for 10 years, and I am dreading what's coming in 12 to 18 months--- hundreds if not thousands of young yellow Labs being dumped at shelters because they're not cute little puppies anymore.

7:49 PM  
Blogger danny said...

hi john I love your book It is very good so far

1:52 PM  
Blogger jyackley01 said...

First, I must say, I absolutely loved Marley & Me. I also gave copies of the book as gifts to several dog lovers in my life.

However, I am very sadly disappointed that you have opted to do a PSA with the AKC. If someone insists on buying a dog, AKC registration alone is hardly proof of a well-bred, healthy, well-adjusted dog. Quite the opposite in fact. Thousands and thousands of AKC puppies are produced in puppy mills across the country every year. I imagine that puppy millers leaped for joy when they learned that Marley and Me would be coming out just in time for Christmas, and began churning out thousands and thousands of yellow lab puppies to meet the coming demand at Christmas time.

I sincerely hope that in addition to the AKC PSA, you would consider doing a PSA encouraging adoption of a shelter dog. Hundreds of perfectly adorable and sweet labs, including puppies, die in shelters across our country every day. And sadly, I'm afraid, about 2/3 of the cute little yellow lab puppies that will be purchased this Christmas will end up in shelters within a year.

7:05 PM  
Blogger MiaBon said...

I have had three Labs. I own two now. I thought I had the worst in my chocolate but he is tame compared to Marley. Labs are a ton of work. It takes at least two years before the chewing is under control and four years before the wild is under control. People only see the cute little puppy with the chubby tummy. Are they worth it? Oh Yes. I have had other dogs in my life but none hold a candle to these loyal Angels. Don't run out to but a Lab unless you are willing to put all of your heart into one. The return is unmeasurable. Think carefully before you take responsibility for one of these beautiful creatures.

10:00 PM  
Blogger zodiac said...

We have three "four legged furry kids" and I loved seeing Marley and Me. I bawled my eyes out in the end and told my husband "the kids should have warned me that Marley dies in the end. I couldn't have watched it". Thank you John for a wonderful story, even if it did break my heart.

9:06 AM  

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